Dr Keith Thomas


Keith was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland for over 30 years and is widely respected for his work in the fields of microbiology and biotechnology.

He established Brewlab in 1986, primarily aimed at working with craft breweries to develop more consistent brewing standards and training new young brewers.

He is an accredited trainer for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling with specialisms in yeast physiology, brewing microbiology and effects of dispense on beer. He has written extensively on these and other topics in trade and academic publications.

One of Keith’s most acclaimed papers entitled “Mapping of agronomic traits, disease resistance and malting quality” reported the discovery of natural disease resistance in historic barley varieties. The Chevallier barley studied is now a popular choice for organic brewing.

Another significant body of research involved resurrecting live yeast from a bottle recovered in an 1895 shipwreck and the identification of unique yeast and bacteria species through DNA sequencing.

Keith manages the company, contributes to course delivery and oversees all R&D projects and investigations.

He also founded our sister company Darwin Brewery that supplies a wide range of outlets in the North East, winning local and national awards for specialist and historic ales.

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